News  >  Blog

Breathing New Life into CEMEAH School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Published 08/27/2015 by Global Communities

Breathing New Life into CEMEAH School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
By Jude Martinez Claircidor, Global Communities Haiti
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti had devastating effects on infrastructure and schools in the greater Port-au-Prince area. In Carrefour Feuilles, the community school “Combite pour l’Encadrement des Enfants Abandonnés de Morne l’Hopital” (CEMEAH), which had opened in 2006 to educate hundreds of vulnerable children who work as domestic servants, was destroyed.
Under the ARC-financed LAMIKA Pillar III program, Global Communities is reconstructing several schools, particularly those affected by the earthquake, in an effort to improve access to quality education in the Carrefour Feuilles zone.
Global Communities selected CEMEAH as one of its six priority schools for reconstruction. CEMEAH was selected primarily because the completion of its second floor would immediately double the space available to the neighborhood’s children. The school is managed by a well-recognized local association. During the construction works, the LAMIKA program secured a site for a provisional school, so that the school’s children could continue to receive their education during the school year.
Over the past ten months, Global Communities built a new second floor to the school, reconstructed the septic tank, water and sanitation systems, lighting, solar power and administrative rooms. In addition, Global Communities reinforced the ground floor of the school, ensuring that the entire building would be safe in case of a future earthquake.

Mrs. Servillus Silvana Merlin, Director of CEMEAH School and Mr. Sadrack Francois, Executive Director of the CEMEAH Foundation are both thrilled with the new renovations at the school.
The school is now fully operational and equipped with new furniture donated by the American Red Cross. Mrs. Servillus Silvana Merlin, Director of the CEMEAH School, is excited to welcome this year’s students to the completely refurbished school. She is particularly excited that CEMEAH School will now be able to teach students up to and including grade 9 – the last grade before entering high school. Until the completion of the LAMIKA program, due to limited space, CEMEAH School was able to offer education only to grade 6.
Mrs. Merline noted that “Before the work, the building was poorly constructed and unsanitary, and keeping the area secure was difficult. The roof of the floor was in bad condition and the entire space was dangerous.” Today, she noted, “The building is beautiful – built like a nice hotel with nice furniture, electrical installations and ventilation.”
Mr. Sadrack Francois, Executive Director of the CEMEAH Foundation, says he is proud and happy to see the new building. “This school is a space rebuilt for the promotion of education and excellence. In addition to being a nicer and safer space for students, this new school will help build the confidence of parents towards the institution.” He continued that “The LAMIKA Pillar III program will also be building a new director’s office and health post that will be managed by the same association.”
Global Communities and American Red Cross have established that at CEMEAH, all students pay a minimal fee of 500 Haitian Goudes (approximately $10 USD) per year. The CEMEAH administration has committed to continue this policy, so that community residents can benefit from nearly free education – now to be delivered in a safer and more student-friendly space.